A Royal Meeting

With another exciting week for the Royal Family, the Catherine Hamlin Fistula Foundation looks back on the memorable moment in 2011 when Catherine met with Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

Lunch with the Queen

Throughout her lifelong dedication to curing fistula patients in Ethiopia, Dr Catherine Hamlin has had the opportunity to meet with many notable characters, one of course being the Queen.

In 2011, Catherine was among 50 prominent Australians invited by the Governor General of Australia, Dame Quentin Bryce, to take lunch with Queen Elizabeth II and Duke of Edinburgh at Government House, Canberra.

This was an exciting time for Hamlin Fistula Ethiopia, as it further spread global awareness on the horrific injury of obstetric fistula, and Catherine’s efforts to eradicate it forever.

The Queen visits Ethiopia in 1965

This however was not the first time that Catherine had met Her Majesty. In 1965, Queen Elizabeth made a state visit to Ethiopia to award the Order of the British Empire (OBE) to Reg Hamlin, Catherine’s late husband. During Her Majesty’s visit, she toured the Princess Tsehai Hospital in Addis Ababa where Catherine and Reg worked. In an excerpt taken from her book, The Hospital by the River, Catherine tells of the momentous occasion when the Queen awarded Reg the OBE:

“The Queen and the Duke entered with the British Ambassador, and we all rose and bowed. When Reg went up, the Queen said, ‘I did enjoy my visit yesterday. Thank you for taking me around.’ She was sweet and gracious. We all noticed her lovely blue eyes.” – Dr Catherine Hamlin

Undoubtedly a proud moment for the Hamlin family, this also greatly increased worldwide recognition of the plight of fistula sufferers and the tireless efforts of Catherine and Reg in curing these women.

Queen Elizabeth awarding Dr Reg Hamlin the OBE in 1965

A Lifetime of Caring

Throughout her 60 years in Ethiopia, Catherine has experienced many milestones, such as co-founding a world-class fistula hospital with her husband and meeting notable figures such as the Queen. Yet Catherine’s proudest accomplishment is the 60,000 women who have been cured of obstetric fistula since her arrival in Ethiopia in 1959.

Today, Catherine is 95 years young, and still lives on the grounds of her hospital in Addis Ababa. Her dream is to eradicate fistula forever. Click here to help achieve this.

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